Montecassiano is one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” and has also been awarded the orange flag by the Italian Touring Club. This medieval village located in the central Marche region is straight out of a fairy tale! Whether you’re just passing through or staying overnight, here is a simple, yet essential itinerary to make sure you get the most out of your visit.
The historic center of Montecassiano is entirely enclosed in the original walls and there are three gates from which to enter, including Porta San Giovanni. Its medieval layout was designed in concentric circles that culminate at the highest point of the town, around 240 meters above sea level.
The epicenter of the entire village is definitely Piazza Giacomo Leopardi. Here, you can see the iconic Palazzo dei Priori building which is the symbol of Montecassiano. It’s an excellent example of Gothic secular architecture. Notice the spectacular frescoes of Saint Anthony Abate on the facade dating to the 14th century.
If you only take the time to see one piece of art while you’re here, make sure that it’s the terracotta altarpiece by Mattia della Robbia. Located inside the Collegiata of Santa Maria Assunta, this seven-meter tall Madonna with Child is depicted with Saints Sebastian, Rocco, Peter the Martyr, and Anthony Abate. Spectacular!
The Pinacoteca Civica Museum is definitely worth visiting if time allows. Here, you’ll find works by Girolamo Buratto including Sogno di Giaccobbe.
3. Food and Culture
Montecassiano’s most famous dish is probably not what you would expect. Sughitti is a sweet polenta made with wine must and walnuts. It’s a must-try!
There are several events throughout the year that have made the village famous including the Palio dei Terzieri. Held every July, Montecassiano goes back in time to its medieval days with historical reenactments, costumes, parades, flag-bearing, food, drink, and entertainment.
Svicolando fills the streets with jugglers, food, and entertainment of all kinds and is held in June. Finally, the Sagra dei Sughitti is held the first Sunday of October and celebrates the town’s most famous dish.
Why not combine your visit with some time enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the Marches region? Montecassiano is located between the Sibillini Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Just outside the village walls, you can enjoy a picnic and hiking trails at the Parco del Cerreto.
The village is also located along the Cammini Lauretani (Holy House of Loreto Marian Pilgrimage), the trail that goes from Assisi to Loreto. Montecassiano is part of leg number 7 of the pilgrimage. Get more info here.
If you arrive by car, you’ll want to park outside the village walls in any of the convenient car parks and visit the town on foot. Montecassiano is part of the Ancona-Macerata train line and there are also buses available from either Ancona or Macerata.